Certain goods are prohibited or subject to restrictions. Click here for more info. Due to its geography, logistics represent a non-tariff trade barrier.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
According to the latest figures form the World Bank, the strade weighted average tariff is 11.6%.
Goods are categorized according to Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Nomenclature, commonly called the Harmonized System (HS) Codes.
Maldives uses import duties as its main source of tax revenue. Ad valorem duties are levied on the C.I.F value of imports (from 0 to 100%). Some goods are prohibited from import like pork and its meat. Clearance should be made directly by the importer or its representative.
The following documents shall be submitted with the Goods Declaration according to Customs law (8/2011). Importers may use a licensed Customs Broker to lodge the Goods Declaration to Customs.
Bill of lading, Airway bill or Courier waybill
Documents stating the costs borne by the buyer and the seller stated in the Pre-valuation form
Insurance Policy for insured goods
A Bond receipt or Post Waybill for goods imported through post
Courier Airway Bill or Delivery Order for goods imported through courier service
Documents stating all the costs incurred for the goods to be brought to the clearing Customs port
Documents stating the payment details or how the payment is to be made for the goods
Pro-forma invoice or the purchase order
Any agreement made in writing between the buyer and the seller
An itemized list of prices for spares, components, and machinery in case the prices are given in aggregates for such goods
Original of the De-registration certificate if the imported good is a Pre-registered vehicle other than motorcycles and auto cycles
If the imported good is a marine vessel the “Additional Information Sheet for Marine Vessels Form” prescribed in Schedule (18) of this Regulation
Original of Certificate of Origin, if the preferential rate of duty is claimed
Permits from relevant government authorities for goods requiring such permit for importation
Any other information regarding the imported goods which the importer wants to share with Customs
Maldives has a population of around 550,000 people, with a GDP per capita (PPP) of USD 30,888 (IMF). The World Bank classifies the country as an upper-middle-income economy. Maldives has a low poverty rate, but poverty is heavily concentrated in atolls: by the national poverty line, poverty in atolls is 10 times as high as in Malè (World Bank), with 92% of the poor population residing in atolls. Overall, Maldives remains the most well-off country in South Asia, whether considering per capita GDP, international poverty rates, or the Gini Index. Maldives' population is young: the median age is 29.5 years, with people between 0-14 years old accounting for almost one-fifth of the total population (22.13%). Other age groups are as follows: 15-24 years 17.24%, 25-54 years 48.91%, 55-64 years 6.91%, 65 years and over 4.81% (CIA Factbook). Around one-third of the population lives in the centrally located capital city of Male and almost a tenth in southern Addu City; the remainder of the population is spread over the 200 or so populated islands of the archipelago. The ethnic composition of the country is a homogeneous mixture of Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, Australasian, and African.
Maldivian consumers are open to foreign brands, with competitive pricing, availability, and reliable after-sales servicing all being important factors for success in the local market. Companies should adapt to religious preferences when developing a marketing strategy; for example, provisions should be made for halal processing to cater to Muslims. Consumer credit is common, and people in the Maldives often rely on personal loans for the majority of their needs.
According to the latest available figures from the Bureau of Statistics, the wholesale and retail trade sector accounted for 8.2% of GDP in 2021, with a gross value added of MVR 5,496.4 million. Most of the shopping in Maldives is centred in Malè, with numerous local markets and shops. Supermarkets are available in the capital, whereas in smaller islands convenience stores and local markets are the primary sources of shopping.
The largest supermarket chain in Maldives is Redwave. Other important chains are Agora by Bright Brothers and Happy Market. Dhimart offers a service based solely on online purchases, as the company does not have physical stores.
The Maldives have a population of around 520,000, with an internet penetration rate of 63.2% as of 2022. According to the latest data by Ookla, the median mobile internet connection speed via cellular networks is 48.31 Mbps and the median fixed internet connection speed is 10.57 Mbps. Around 407,000 people use social media (although social media users may not represent unique individuals), with Facebook being the main platform (311 thousand users - 37.7% female, 62.3% male), followed by Instagram (210 thousand users - 45.5% female, 54.5% male) and LinkedIn (120 thousand users - 22.5% female, 77.5% male – Data Reportal). Data from GSMA Intelligence shows that there were 810 thousand cellular mobile connections in the Maldives at the start of 2022.
Although precise figures are not available, widespread internet usage is underpinning growth in the Maldivian e-commerce market, which comprises domestic online platforms and marketplaces, as well as online transactions between offshore sellers and foreign tourists for services ultimately consumed in the country. Survey-based estimates of average growth in e-commerce sales for Maldives comparator countries suggest a marked upward trend in recent years, particularly during the pandemic. According to the World Bank, over the last decade digitally-delivered services more than doubled as a share of total trade in services for the Maldives (a growth rate twice as large as the average for other small island developing states), and now account for almost half of all service trade in the country. It mostly comprises B2B services.
Organizing Goods Transport
Main Useful Means of Transport
Being a widespread archipelago in the Indian Ocean, goods to and within the Maldives are generally transported by sea. Approximately 500 vessels, 830,876 tonnes of cargo and 20,250TEU are handled annually in the Male Commercial harbour. Daily, the port handles at least 2500 tonnes of cargo. The air transport industry, including airlines and its supply chain, is estimated to contribute around USD 165 million to the GDP of the Maldives (IATA). The latest figures from the national Bureau of Statistics show that the transportation and communication sector is the second-largest sector of the economy, accounting for 9.5% of GDP (2021).
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